Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year’s Eve Parties and Events

new year's eve parties and events
We all love to celebrate New Year’s Eve! Here are some parties and events I found happening here in Greenville SC for December 31st.
  • SIP Soiree - New Year’s Eve at 9pm. Prices $38-$54. 103 N Main St.
  • New Year’s Eve 2016 Southern Gala at 9pm. Prices $80-$133. 540 Buncombe St.
  • New Year’s Eve Show and Countdown at 10pm. $20. 1 E Coffee St.
  • Negril Village New Year’s Eve Party at 8pm. FREE. 30 North Avenue NE.
  • New Year’s Eve 2016! at 9pm. Prices $29-$136. 200 East Bland.
  • Durham New Year’s Eve Celebration at 8pm. Price $64. 301 West Morgan St.
  • New Year’s Eve Party at Moe Joe Coffee and Music House of Greenville. Price $27. 20 South Main St.
  • New Year’s Eve Porgy 2015 at 5pm. Price $0-27. Greer SC.
  • The Final Countdown to 2016 at 9pm. Prices $54-$101. 22 Graves Dr.
This is just a few of the celebrations that you can participate in for New Years. Find the whole listing at Greenville New Years Eve Parties Events. The GreenvilleOnline web site also has a listing of some New Years events. You can also take a look back at the biggest stories in 2014 from the same page. Downtown Greenville has a Facebook page that lists attractions and things to do also.

purge old tax records
Another benefit to welcoming a new year is the opportunity to start fresh. Start your spring cleaning by cleaning up your personal papers and tax records. Get organized and shred the papers you no longer need. According to the IRS, annual tax records can be purged after three years from the date you filed the return - this corresponds to the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. For state tax returns, if applicable, check with your state offices. In addition, the IRS can ask for tax records up to six years if they suspect fraud or failure to report all gross income. Any paperwork you have to help you claim tax deductions should be kept for three years after the filing date too.

Another option is to take these records and scan them into an electronic storage program like Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive. These programs are free up to a specific amount of storage and then you can purchase more storage for a relatively small price. Most professional or corporate entities will take electronic files as proof these days.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas


Check out this brief History of Christmas video provided by the History Channel. You might find a couple of things you didn’t know about Christmas in it.



The Christmas Tree is a tradition that has an interesting beginning. Check out this video below to learn something you didn’t know.





And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, December 18, 2015

How to make your savings Piggy Bank Happy on Year End Tax Deductions



How to make your savings Piggy Bank Happy on Year End Tax Deductions
Image courtesy of hin255
at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Homeowners have a few advantages over non-homeowners. Here are some tax tips you need to get a jump start on your 2015 taxes. Take advantage of these to lower your tax bill.
  • Mortgage Interest Deduction. This is a great deduction available to homeowners. To qualify your loan must be secured by your home… and your home can be a house, RV, or boat as long as you can sleep, cook and it has a toilet. Interest paid on your mortgage up to $1 million ($500,000 if married filing separately) is deductible. Also if you take out a second mortgage, equity loan or equity line of credit interest is deductible also and counts toward the $1 million limit.
  • Prepaid Interest Deduction. If you pre-paid interest or points on your home loan they are deductible in the year in which you paid them. If you refinanced and paid any points they are also deductible in the year you paid. Look for a Form 1098 from your Lender for qualifying amounts.
  • Property Tax Deduction. Taxes paid to your local state, county or city are deductible on your tax return. If you pay into an escrow account, you can see what was paid on your behalf for the year. Your Lender will send you a notice via mail during January or February.
  • PMI and FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums. This will only be deductible if Congress renews it for 2015 like they have in the past. The cost of PMI would be deducted on your Schedule A as mortgage interest.
  • Vacation Home Tax Deductions. This deduction can be complicated based on whether you use the home yourself or rent it out during part of the year. If you rent it for more than 14 days during the year and use it personally fewer than 15 days during the year it is considered rental property and is deducted on a Schedule E. If you use if as a rental, keep track of your income, expenses and there may be some deductions available to you.
  • Energy-Efficiency Upgrades. Unless Congress renews for 2015, this credit is no longer available. This one carried a lifetime cap of $500 so if you used it before now you may have used your full credit. But one thing is certain, energy efficient upgrades will save you money in utilities per month.
How to make your savings Piggy Bank Happy on Year End Tax DeductionsHope this has been a great reminder of what you can expect to deduct when you sit down to do your taxes for 2015. Keeping good records is always a plus.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, December 11, 2015

New Mortgage Rules You Should Know


new mortgage rules
Good news for homebuyers who are purchasing after October 3rd 2015. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has fought for new mortgage rules for consumers. These rules are to help prevent surprises for buyers when they get to the closing table.

With this new law, buyers will get transparent loan and closing documents a full three days before they go to closing on a home. This might help buyers save money on some of the small print fees that you might not have seen at the closing table.
  • Paperwork the buyer will receive. A loan estimate (LE) and a closing disclosure (CD).
Within 3 days of completing a loan application with a lender you will receive a loan estimate. This document will itemize out all the 3rd party fees and services (e.g., title search, title insurance, credit report fee). Our suggestion: get a loan estimate from several lenders so you can see what fees they add on and make an informed decision on the best product.

Three days before closing the buyer will receive the closing disclosure. This document itemizes all the same costs but as a final price for the fees and services and not as an estimate like above. With these two documents, buyers will have all the information on purchasing their home.

The information on the loan estimate and closing disclosure are categorized.
  • Loan terms. Details amount of loan, interest rate and the loan monthly payment.
  • Projected payments. Details the buyer’s monthly payment including mortgage, PMI, escrow amounts.
  • Costs paid at closing. Details the total cash the buyer brings to closing.
  • Closing cost details. Details the additional fees the buyer will pay. Some of these fees can be shopped around and some are specific to the lender you choose.
The closing disclosure will also list any credits or deposits made on the buyer’s behalf by the seller or by the buyer’s family etc. Lenders don’t know about these credits when preparing their loan estimate.

Due to the strict timing of these documents, it is important for a buyer to provide any and all necessary information as soon as possible. Enlist the help of your RealtorⓇ when negotiating and preparing paperwork. It is their job to know the rules and they can help expedite the process.

Bottom-line is that the LE and CD are good documents. This new law requires that these documents be made in good faith so they are required to be as accurate as possible. With the buyer knowing what to expect at closing, hopefully there will be no surprises.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.




Friday, December 4, 2015

December Events around Greenville SC




The Holiday Season is in full swing so here are some events happening around Greenville. This is just a short list of all the holiday happenings. Get a full list of events for Greenville for the month of December. The link is already set up to display.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!


happy thanksgiving
As we gather with our families this Thursday and speak about our blessings I thought I would look back at a bit of history about Thanksgiving and share what I found.
  • The first Thanksgiving was a simple gathering between the remaining 56 English colonists and the 91 American Indians that helped them reap their harvest in 1621. It was a traditional English harvest festival that lasted three days.
  • Did you know that George Washington was the first President to proclaim a nationwide day of Thanksgiving? November 26, 1789 "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts"
  • Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation declaring October 3 Thanksgiving Day in 1863.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt , December 26 1941, signed a joint resolution that moved Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada, our northern neighbors.
  • The classic meal for Thanksgiving of turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie and root vegetables is based on the New England fall harvests although local cooks have modified the menus based on taste and food choice.
  • New Mexico uses chilies and southwest flavors. Locals on the Chesapeake Bay use blue crab as an ingredient. In the Midwest, the turkey may have wild rice stuffing, or in the northwest hazelnuts are an added ingredient. Indiana prefers persimmon puddings and Key West key lime pie. Baltimoreans add sauerkraut to their meal.
  • Corn, sweet potatoes/yams and pork are southern staples with addins like ham, sweet potato casserole, corn bread dressing along with other pies and puddings.
  • Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day in the United States. Over 10 million people will find a flight. Another 40 million will drive 100 miles or more to be with family and friends.
So as you sit around your table this year take a look back at where Thanksgiving began and give a bit of thanks for those first English settlers that fled England in search of something better. Because without them, we might not even have Thanksgiving!

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Holiday Hosting Disasters and How to Avoid Them

Next Thursday is our big turkey day! Family coming over, food being cooked, lots of camaraderie and love going around. But what happens if your oven doesn’t work or your sink clogs or heaven forbid, the heat goes out in your home. Don’t fret! Peruse the solutions to these problems below and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
  • Issue: Your oven doesn’t heat. One simple tip..don’t self-clean your oven until after your T-day dinner! You take the chance of blowing a fuse or thermostat You don’t want to end up at your local Chinese restaurant and trying to get an appliance repairman could cost big bucks if you can find one.
  • A clog in my kitchen sink. Plumbers are often the busiest right after a holiday meal. Major reason: mistreating your drains when cooking. Here is some advice. Don’t dispose of fats and cooking oils down the drain, they can solidify in your pipes. If using the garbage disposal, make sure it runs before shoving stuff in it and never put anything fibrous, stringy or starchy. Fixing the drain will probably take a snake which you can buy at your local hardware store. Don’t use chemicals, they harm the pipes.
  • No heat in the house. I know I have posted about the importance of regular maintenance. Here is one place where it is warranted. Get your HVAC system checkup done at least every fall and spring. Replace the filters every 90 days. Inspect the insulation on the refrigerant lines into your home. Replace anything that is missing and fix anything that is broken. That way during the middle of winter or the middle of summer you don’t lose your comfort zone.
  • The toilet is stopped up. Simple: don’t flush anything but toilet paper and sewage down it. Add a note to remind guests around the toilet if it happens often.
  • My refrigerator is not cooling. Ut oh! Keep an eye on the fridge by putting a thermometer in it. You can monitor to make sure it stays below 40 degrees. Also, we are back to regular maintenance. Each spring and fall, pull out your fridge and vacuum the dust and any animal hair from the coils. Remove anything from around it that is blocking air flow. Keeping the coils clean is huge!
Now you have been properly prepped and are ready to handle all your family and guests next Thursday. Don’t forget to do your shopping! 😊

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CALLING ALL INVESTERS AND INCOME PROPERTY SEEKERS 3 HOMES ON 2.77 ACRES!!!


Bathroom Renos for Germaphobes

bathroom renos for germaphobes
Touchless Bathroom

We live in our homes and with us lives the germs and microbes of everyday life. But there is a way to combat the buildup and get some upscale improvements at the same time. Here I give you five bathroom upgrades that will help you fight dirt, germs and bacteria. Read on!

  • Minimize the Grout. Throw away the old adage that a bathroom has to have tile. Try glass or waterproofed real-stone veneer instead. They are supplied in large sheets so very minimal on the grout. Or you can hire an artisans to do your bath in Tadelakt. A lime-based plaster that is waterproof, resists mold and mildew and is sealed with a soap solution. But if you like tile then opt for larger tiles to minimize the grout lines. Fewer lines means less upkeep. Rethink sheet vinyl. The products are getting better at looking like real tiles with fake grout lines. Cleans up just like any other vinyl, no grout cleaning needed.
  • Don’t touch that facet. Sensor facets are a good way to keep the germs from getting a starting foothold. If you aren’t touching it then you aren’t depositing on it. Beware though, touchless faucets tend to use more water.
  • Copper fixtures have been shown to help fight germs with its anti-germ properties. Hospitals use it for this reason. Maybe a brass doorknob would help also.
  • Toilet Duty. How about a new one-piece toilet. Easier to clean than the old two piece cousins they will decrease your cleaning time. Also look for a pressure-assisted toilets that emits a powerful jet of water around the bowl to help keep it clean and flush down debris. They are high efficient also.
  • Exhaust that moisture. A good exhaust fan will fight against mildew, mold and other nasties that like to grow in high moisture situations. Newer fans are more efficient and better at their job. Some even have a humidity sensor that works the fan automatically. Not the most glamorous of upgrades but probably one of the most important. Moisture is your enemy in the bathroom.

Germs, mold, mildew and bacteria can grow anywhere that is unattended so when it comes time to clean don’t skimp on the project. Remember Mom’s spring cleaning? Well it is also a good idea to clean it up before you get closed up indoors with it all winter. And don’t forget to clean these; shower heads, shower curtains, drains and your medicine cabinet.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Events and Happenings

Here is a quick rundown of some events and happenings in Greenville this month.


This is just a sampling of the many events and happenings for the month of November. To see a full calendar go to www.visitgreenvillesc.com. The link I have provided is already filtered for November.


And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Breathe Easy with these Alternative Fireplaces

breathe easy with these alternative fireplaces
Image: Regency Fireplace Products
Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are becoming a thing of the past. Burning wood can be as harmful to you as smoking cigarettes. Wood smoke is loaded with carcinogens. The chimney tends to suck up more heat than it puts out. Soot buildup in your chimney has to be removed once a year. Also it's a good idea to get a professional to inspect the fireplace and chimney before lighting it in the fall. Bet you didn’t think about all that did you? Enough of the bad stuff, here are some more popular alternatives to a fireplace that burns wood.

  • Direct-Vent Gas Insert Fireplace. This is a permanent replacement option. A professional will need to install because it has to be vented to the roof or side wall. Also a plumber will need to install and hook up the gas line. Being a gas alternative, the flame is kept behind glass so there are no pollutants expelled into the room. There is a real flame but no sound. This alternative is expensive. With installation, prices are between $2K and $5K and it will increase your gas bill a bit but there is no heat loss. To offset the utilities, turn down the heat thermostat when burning the fire. Make sure to have a pro come clean it before the season starts.
  • Electric Fireplace Insert. Some units are easy to install just by plugging into a grounded outlet in the home. They use electricity and there are no pollutants. Presentation is a faux fire with newer units using LED lights. No sound or scent with this one either. Cost is less than a gas alternative around $500 to $1,500 but it can impact your electric bill. Good thing it will last longer than a gas fireplace since there is no fuel burning. Unplug and clean dust each year before the season.
  • Alcohol Gel Fireplace with Faux-Logs. Place the faux logs inside your existing fireplace. It uses an alcohol gel which you can buy in cans like the sterno cans caterers use. One can will burn up to 3 hours. Burning alcohol does emit steam and a minute amount of carbon dioxide. But it is way below what could be considered dangerous. Depending on how often you use it, just air out the home to keep any pollutants from building up. Produces a real flame with all the sound, thanks to salt, and comes in odorless or scented versions. As with the other two, please take time to clean out the fireplace before the burning season begins. Shop vacs are great tools for this.

The pros suggest installing a carbon monoxide monitor in the same room as your fireplace as a precaution. Most of us already have one in our homes. Now that you have some information, please do your own research and contact your local professionals before you install.

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Open House - 207 Austin Brooke St, Simpsonville, SC

Join us for an Open House Sunday, Nov 1st 2-4 pm!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Light it Up!

The spooky season is upon us again. But as you prepare to celebrate Halloween, here are some ways to celebrate and save money.
halloween lighting ideas
Image by emmastrend.com
  • Instead of using individual lights consider using CFL or LED spotlights in color to light up your displays. One 20-watt CFL is as bright as a 100-watt incandescent bulb and can be used for as many as 30 Halloweens.
  • Another fun but inexpensive theme is to create window silhouettes that make your shadows scary. Create them using black paper and place a white background or sheet behind them. When back lit they will shine and scare like crazy. Window silhouettes can also be found at Spirit Halloween Stores which appear only at Halloween in a city near you.Love pumpkins? How about creating an arch of lighted pumpkins. Stake plastic PVC to form the arch and then zip tie different sized plastic pumpkins along the arch. You can use clear string lighting as a back lit to make them shine.
  • Got a second story balcony open? Use it to stage your best presentation. Hand your ghoul then use floor mounted up lighting for a dramatic effect. Kids will be so busy waiting for the ghoul to move they might not see you next creation.
  • As mentioned above, if you are not the creative type, then head over to Spirit Halloween store and pick up some great looking yard displays. Most are very durable and can be stored and reused for many years. They have a great selection. I even saw a haunted subway as their centerpiece this year.
  • But then again if you are creative get a string of clear led lights and buy some ping pong balls. Use sharpies to make colorful eyes on them and attach them to the light string. An expensive way to keep an eye on everyone.
  • Add some mystery to your bushes by saving paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls to make spooky bush monsters. Add a glow stick to the rolls and place them inside your bushes. For more dramatic effect, cover the rolls with paper and make white eyes over the holes.
    halloween lighting ideas
  • Mix it up. For a great overall effect mix outdoor lighting with indoor lighting. Take advantage of the windows that face the front and add lighting and spooky shadows but make sure to light the walkways for the Trick o’ Treaters. If you’re not into multiple colors, go for a monochromatic look. Pick a spooky color like green, purple, or dark blue and stick with it.
  • Lessen the cords by using battery powered light strings. A string of LEDs can burn 15 days on 3 AA batteries.
  • Disembodied heads you say. Get a hold of an old porcelain doll head or some cheap plastic one and put a battery power flickering LED inside. Ups the creepy effect by at least 25%. Make your own party by adding up-lit monsters around your home. The creepier the better.
  • Another quick DIY...grab some empty gallon milk jugs and create mini ghosts. Light them up with battery powered tea lights too.
Well now that you have ideas on lighting go forth and make your decorated home awesome! Post some pics of your great decorations in the comments below. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

And remember if you, a friend or family member need assistance with selling or buying a home I can help. Referrals and people needing relocation assistance are welcome! Search Single Family homes in Greenville. Search Condos and Townhomes in Greenville.